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Monday, May 22, 2006

Luring the Faithful to View the Profane

Davinci2As you know, The DaVince Code opened to mixed reviews and a huge box-office take this weekend.  There was also an interesting article in the Globe and Mail about how Sony actually tried to get Christians to see the film; including hiring a Christian marketing company to come up with ideas...

Financially limping Sony Pictures -- now praying that Christians buy tickets rather than parade with protest placards -- commissioned the current novas of the corralling-Christians business, Grace Hill Media, to come up with a marketing strategy.

Grace Hill's solution: a website inviting more than three dozen "experts" -- theologians, priests, nuns and preachers (including the former bent political operative Chuck Colson, who did prison time for obstruction of justice) -- to write anything they wanted about the movie and the mega-successful book it is based on, including that it's all hogwash and that the theology is appalling.

Men and women of the Word of God leapt at the opportunity.

You can read the whole article here.

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May 22, 2006 in Current Affairs | Permalink

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Comments

I have read the book, and seen the movie. In fact we took a number of people to see the movie and then came back for a satellite presentation by Strobel and Lutzer just yesterday. Now that I am a few hours away from the event, it strikes me that this has been blown way out of proportion. The book is okay not historically great fiction, the movie is fine, better than some of review indicated, and not one of the 10 best. But it is just a story. The true tales of sexual abuse or financial fraud have done far greater harm than this story. Just as the Passion of the Christ did not usher in the kingdom, this movie will not be demise of the kingdom.

If Sony has used the reaction of the church community to sell more ticket, Jesus is right, "For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light." (Luke 16:8) $77 million made it a good plan.

Posted by: Kent | May 22, 2006 4:04:57 PM

Our church talked about the Code this last weekend, and I know it helped me get a better handle on Church history. An unchurched friend of mine asked me to read the book so that I could give her my perspective on it, and I look forward to the conversations that that open door could lead into. By the way, my pastor said it was a pretty boring movie, too.

Posted by: Nora | May 22, 2006 4:16:13 PM

You know, for my 2 cents worth, I haven't read the book; nor do I really plan to see the movie.

Our church is doing a message series pointing out the fallacies of the movie, which I think is good... but quite frankly, it just doesn't interest me.

Tom Hanks really isn't one of my favorites, and I really don't want to spend the time or money to see something that I don't agree with.

That said, the message series has helped to be knowledgeable; and actually my wife took a call from a person last night about the movie and was able to talk this person through what she had just seen at the movie.

Todd

Posted by: Todd Rhoades | May 22, 2006 4:27:29 PM

I don't plan on reading the book, but I did watch the movie and actually, thoroughly enjoyed it. Sure it was a little cheesy at points, and the history was a little whacko, to say the least, but it was good entertainment. Churches (and mine is doing this as well) that are using the opportunity to educate their members about the formation of the canon, the council of Nicea, and the canonical gospels, are doing a great thing. I just think it's a bummer we have to have our beliefs challenged before we feel the need to dig deeper...
Having lived in Paris for two years, the french actors and cityscapes were fun to see again for me. :-)
Cheers,
-Daniel-

Posted by: Daniel | May 22, 2006 6:10:31 PM

I have been on the AOL boards talking to people about the book and the movie. I made a Post called: Jesus & Mary Where Not Married & they Did not Have Childern. Another Post called: It is True... Jesus Does Have a Bride and He Does Have Childern.
Both post did rather well. But the one that really got the most attention was my Post: Da' Vinci Code is Blaspheming, deception, and Lies.
Listen... I understand that the book and movie are fiction by I will not spend my money on either one. I do not believe in this and I will stand and fight because this is degrading to Our Lord.
With the three post that I made I received over 600 emails. Out those 600 emails I only had 8-10 that agreed with me. But the biggest shock of all was this. Out of the other posters where non- Christian and Christian. The shocker was those who claimed to be Christians who said that they actually believe that Jesus was married to Mary and that they had childern. They're reasons where:
1. Jesus was human like we where.
2. Jesus could have been married and still remained Holy and Pure.
3. What is wrong with saying Jesus was Married and had Childern.
4. Jesus had to be married because he obeyed God's command to be fruitful and mulitply.
5. Jesus was married because He could not have been a Rabbi and remained single.
6. Jesus was married because of the parable he told of the ten virgins.
Hang with me now this is the kicker..
7. When Jesus told the parable of the ten virgins he agreed to man having more than one wife..
8. Jesus was a bi-sexual.. He was married to Mary, and his male partner was John...

All of these are actual quotes from people who claimed to be Christians. I would print some more but they are to descriptive

Posted by: Jeff Ruble | May 22, 2006 6:16:17 PM

I found DVC the book to be a page-turning thriller, though certainly not great literature. From what I've heard, the movie is similar - suspenseful, but not great cinema.

Dr. Mark Strauss of Bethel Seminary-San Diego ( http://seminary.bethel.edu/sandiego/ ), spoke yesterday at our church. I found it interesting that Dr. Strauss dismissed as a non-issue the one thing that Christians seem most distressed about: the idea that Jesus was married. As he said, there's nothing sinful or even unscriptural about marriage or sexual relations within marriage (or, I would add, having children within marriage), so being married would not have been detrimental in any way to Jesus' divinity or sinlessness. (Perhaps he could even have provided a great example of being a husband and father for us to follow!)

Where Dr. Strauss raised concerns was in the claims made in DVC under the guise of "historical fiction", with supposedly reliable characters making blatantly false statements. (E.g., Teabing saying that, "the marriage of Jesus and Mary is a matter of historical record.") DVC makes numerous claims about Jesus, the church, and the Bible, and makes those claims in a manner that suggests they are true and that anyone who does a little research would be able to verify their accuracy. Unfortunately, the average Christian (including me) probably couldn't refute these claims with reasonable confidence because we just don't know our church history too well. Even those who have done some time in creedal churches (as I have) and could recite the Nicene Creed from memory (I can't) probably don't know how and why it came about.

Whether you prefer to boycott the movie, or you saw it on opening night, or you're going to wait for DVC on DVD, I encourage everyone to use this as an opportunity to brush up on history. Maybe even invite a friend to do that with you - especially a friend who tends to believe the claims in DVC. Dr. Strauss' message and slides are available on our church's website, http://www.cvcf.com . He also has a new book out, "Truth & Error in the Da Vinci Code: The Facts about Jesus and Christian Origins". I haven't read it, but I've sat under his teaching enough to know that it's worth the price (but it's just one of many good "code-cracking" books!)

Posted by: Randy Ehle | May 22, 2006 6:52:09 PM

Randy,
I want you to know friend, that I love you and I have the utmost respect for you. But like they say on here we can agree to disagree.

Now I want you to know. That I am not mad and I am not raking you over the coals either. But I do disagree with your statement and Dr. Strauss statement. The reason why is because saying that Jesus Christ married and had childern does take away from who Christ was. That is blaspheming and desecrating Christ.

The Da' Vinci Code is nothing but utter garbage. It is nothing but lies, heresy, deceit. First, we know that Jesus Christ is from the Father. Him and God are One, just as The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit are one... If you say and do anything to one of them, it is the same as doing it to all three. Second, It was not God's plan for Jesus to be Married. His main purpose of coming here was to die for our sins. Nothing more nothing less. Third, Jesus was a High Priest after the order of Melchisdek. We don't know anything else about this King other than he was a King and High Priest and that he was from Salem. He had neither father and mother. This resembles God. God does not have a father or mother. fourth, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit not by a human father. Of course he lived here in the flesh, but he was God. The bible proves this by his need of doing the Father's work in the temple at the age of 12. Did you not know that I should be about my Father's business. Jesus also said that his bread and meat was to do the will of Him that sent him. Last, All this book and movie is, is this.... In John 10:10 Jesus said that the thief comes to kill and to steal and to destroy. I have come that they may have eternal life and they might have it more abundantly. That is exactly what this book and movie has come to do. To lure people from the truth, to get them to think of Jesus in another light other than being a savior.. Why? Because today people want to justify sin and what they are doing by saying God Accepts it why don't you. Well I don't. I don't accept this as good literature, a good thriller, or a good movie.
I have a book here from a seminary class called "The Moody Handbook or Theology." It has several writers who are well known Theologians. There where several of them who believed that Jesus was not the Son of God but was the very Son of Joseph. They even said that he was just a normal man like we where.
The book is a cult, it's blaspheming, and it is utterly disgusting. The bible is the real truth about Jesus Christ, and I will not read it or watch it. I will not allow my family to be subjected to these lies as well. When they get older and move away and they want to read I can't help that. People may think I am brain washing my kids, but I call it safeguarding, I am the head of this household and God will hold me responsible for them and what goes on. But I am telling my family the real truth. Jesus was not maried he did not have childern. The true bride of Christ is the CHURCH and His true CHILDERN are those who have been born again. For this is the way Christ built his family, not through a physical blood line, but a spiritual blood line. Why? Because the physical is corrupt and sinful. But the spiritual is true and eternal life.

Posted by: Jeff Ruble | May 23, 2006 9:22:05 AM

Amen Jeff!

Consider this:
The subtitle for The Da Vinci Code should be "Did God Really Say?" for that is the underlying theme of both book and movie. It first attempts to undercut your confidence in God's Word and then quickly points you to another gospel. The basic plot is that the whole of traditional Christianity is based upon a false textual base, handed down to us because of a deep patriarchal conspiracy—one that is keeping all of us from knowing the real truth about Jesus and God, good and evil, and pretty much everything else. From beginning to end, however, Brown has spun an elaborate cobweb of deceit that should sound vaguely familiar.

Do you remember? You've actually read this story before—in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3).

Let's think about what happened there.

Satan comes to Eve and does three things:

* First, he challenges the veracity of God's Word (did God really say?)

* Second, he puts forth his counter truth claim (you will not surely die)

* And finally, he informs Eve that there is a foul conspiracy afoot; that God is keeping her from "secret knowledge" which, if she would just listen and follow Satan's inside information, she would become like God, knowing this secret knowledge herself. And, of course, she would live happily ever after.

Read the whole thing by Dr.Del Tacket at my blog, its awesome!

Posted by: Mark | May 23, 2006 10:17:19 AM

Jeff,

I find your closing comments curious in that they echo a foundational belief of gnostic understandings of Christianity. Namely, that the physical is corrupt and sinful, but the spiritual is true and eternal. This led the gnostics to deny the humanity of Christ, while elevating His divinity. They argued that if Jesus is fully God, and the physical is corrupt and sinful, than a fully human (ie. physical) Jesus is not possible. According to gnostics, Jesus could not possibly have been fully human and fully divine because the fully human part would corrupt His divinity.

However, the overwhelming evidence of the NT is that Jesus was indeed fully human and fully God. That is what the the councils wrestled with ~ They didn't vote Jesus divine, as Teabing suggests in The Da Vinci Code, rather they wrestled with what it means for Jesus to be fully human and fully divine at the same time.

If you are going to throw around the word "heresy" you better make sure that you do not have fundamental beliefs that carry with them serious implications about the nature of Jesus Christ. Gnosticism has been considered heresy since it's inception. You uttered one of the key gnostic beliefs with great clarity and force in your writing.

At the same time, you may want to think through the implications of your statements about the Trinity as well. Doing something to one of them is not the same as doing something to all of them. Jesus died physically on the cross, not God the Father or God the Spirit. God the Father and God the Spirit do not have physicality, so physical death was not possible. What the church affirms in the Trinity, again, is a bit of a mystery. The Bible says there is one God in three persons. God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit are all in nature God ~ they share the same nature. But there is also a subject/object distinction. Jesus prays to the Father, the Father sends the Son, the Son sends the Spirit, the Father and Son are two distinct witnesses...etc.

I don't think Jesus was married either. I think TDC is full of lies and deciet as well. It presents known falsehoods as truth and that is wrong. However, I want to encourage you to pump the breaks a little bit. At the very least there are two statements in your post that flirt with unorthodox understandings of the Trinity and the nature of God the Son, Jesus Christ.


Peace in Christ,

mdd

Posted by: Michael | May 23, 2006 10:49:20 AM

Mixed reviews? Go to rottentomatoes.com. It's gotten HORRIBLE reviews. The book was a mediocre but entertaining and even thrilling page turner. It's history lesson was LUDICROUS! It's facts were TOTALLY RIDICULOUS!

I suspect that anyone who can have their faith "shaken" by a movie and a fictional book might not have built on very solid ground to begin with.

IT'S a MOVIE for pete's sake! (pun intended...)

Posted by: Peter Hamm | May 23, 2006 11:14:36 AM

Jeff, where in the Bible does it say the physical is NOT corrupt and the spirit is NOT eternal. I think Jeff is perfectly correct, perhaps your reading too much into his words. Things of the flesh die, things of the spirit have eternal life. Where is our focus? That's why we die to ourselves and live through Christ.

Posted by: Mark | May 23, 2006 11:30:03 AM

[so being married would not have been detrimental in any way to Jesus' divinity or sinlessness. (Perhaps he could even have provided a great example of being a husband and father for us to follow!)]

Wow. What a liberal view ;)

The sins of the father are passed on from generation to generation.

Was Jesus' Blood Pure? Would his offspring be pure? If yes. Then you have a lineage Perfect and Holy. If no, God's Word is void "the sin's of the father are passed on from generation to generation".

Jesus' perfect example of being a husband is to His Church and The Father does a fine job of revealing to us what a Father is to be. No need to add to God's Word with man's thoughts.

[The reason why is because saying that Jesus Christ married and had childern does take away from who Christ was. That is blaspheming and desecrating Christ. ]

Amen Jeff!

[I find your closing comments curious in that they echo a foundational belief of gnostic understandings of Christianity. Namely, that the physical is corrupt and sinful, but the spiritual is true and eternal. This led the gnostics to deny the humanity of Christ, while elevating His divinity. They argued that if Jesus is fully God, and the physical is corrupt and sinful, than a fully human (ie. physical) Jesus is not possible. According to gnostics, Jesus could not possibly have been fully human and fully divine because the fully human part would corrupt His divinity.]

Gnostics also believe they hear audibly from God but I don't see anyone bringing up that point to the faith or charismatic bretheren today.

Dr. Mark Strauss of Bethel Seminary-San Diego does nothing more than continue in the gnostics way... adding to God's Word his own thoughts/ideas (ideas have consequences).

Posted by: BeHim | May 23, 2006 11:53:39 AM

Hey, Jeff, I think you did a great job of strongly disagreeing with me, yet with great grace! You've set an example for others to follow, and I appreciate that.

Just for fun, I'm going to pick on one thing you wrote, that I know you didn't say! "The bible is the real truth about Jesus Christ, and I will not read it or watch it." I sure hope "it" means the Da Vinci Code; it sounds like you mean you're not going to read or watch the Bible!!! ;-)

Unfortunately, BeHim showed less grace to Mark Strauss in his closing comment, and I want to give Mark the benefit of the doubt by providing a bit more context to his comments. He says that there are a host of claims in DVC that Christians need to be knowledgeable of and concerned about...and respond to in "gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15); the idea that Jesus was married - while certainly false - need not be the primary concern. Nonetheless, Mark refuted (and said that we ought to be able to refute) the claim made by Teabing that "the marriage of Jesus and Mary is a matter of historical record." It is most certainly NOT a matter of historical record, and no reliable document - or historian - suggests that it is. In fact, Dr. Strauss pointed out that scholars across the theological spectrum would agree that most claims made in DVC are without support.

Now, before anyone jumps me again to argue against what I've said, please save your carpal tunnel! I'm not trying to convince anyone of what I've said, because frankly I don't think you need to agree with me!

Posted by: Randy Ehle | May 23, 2006 12:23:34 PM

[I have done research on my own and I can refute this without seeing the movie.]

Amen.

Maturity in Christ refutes ignorance in the world.

Posted by: BeHim | May 23, 2006 12:36:08 PM

Randy,
You are correct about my statement. I did mean that I will not read the Da' Vince Code or watch the movie. But I will read the bible...

Peter, I was a little taken back by your post, but I want you to know that I am not made and I don't want to argue with you, because I love you and respect you too much for that. But, I do want you to know that my faith isn't shaken at all.. It is rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ.

The only reason I posted what I did here on MMI as well on the AOL boards is this. As a Christian we all know the truth about Jesus Christ. This is the one thing we all can agree too is He was perfect, he was God's Son, he healed people, made the lame to walk the blind to see. But he died on that old rugged cross for each of us as if we where the only person on this earth to die for.

But you see. I understand it's just a man's point of view and opinion. But I love people too much to read and watch something that is lies about the only one who can help man with his sinful condition. My faith is not shaken, I only want to rescue those little sheep from a hireling and thief. I will gladly lay down my life for those who do not know Christ and risk being called names and critized. I gladly do this because Chirst did that for me.

I have run out of posting time.. This is my third time. I love you all very much and I want you to know I am not mad at anyone. God Bless you and have a blessed evening.

Posted by: Jeff Ruble | May 23, 2006 4:51:00 PM

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